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We all want safety for our families and ourselves – and over the last three decades, crime hasn’t been the only killer communities fear. Impure water and toxic soil and air are unsuspecting and unwanted criminals that are disproportionately visiting Black and brown neighborhoods, including in Memphis, where a suspected cancer-causing sterilization plant eventually closed.

For a long time, many failed to share or show up about potential race-related environmental issues until 1982. That year, the U.S. Department of Energy credits the NAACP protest in Warren County, North Carolina, as the spark of what we now call the environmental justice movement. Back then, a hazardous waste landfill moved into a small, predominantly Black neighborhood. Though advocacy efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in preventing the project from moving out, hundreds of protestors launched a national focus on the issue that prevented similar projects from moving into other areas. Also, according to the Energy Department, the protests led to studies on the connection between race and hazardous waste decisions and, ultimately, legislative protections.

KQ Communications is committed to people and projects that positively impact our communities. Through this, we’ve learned that two things can be true – new development can maintain community health and create economic growth. This is much more likely if a commitment to engagement and mutual understanding exists.

In a recent research study, we listened to hundreds of residents and communication professionals discuss what authentic community engagement is and isn’t, especially regarding community developments and advancements. One of the main areas we focused on was clean energy. With related projects and job opportunities coming to multiple states and cities, we want to show advocacy and ensure all voices are informed and included. Further, we want to support communicators and engagement professionals in effectively reaching all communities. Our full Clean Energy engagement report will be available later this year via our website: kqcommunications.com. Please follow us on social media for the latest information and updates.

We believe our upcoming report will help organizations begin engagement now – not before companies move in, jobs are lost or new training is required. If we all learn from the sins of the past by pulling from best practices, businesses and organizations can help to build up, not just build in, Black and brown communities.

View The Q2 Newsletter